The magnitude of the disastrous Bush presidency told in 24 charts

In 24 charts, the Washington Post reveals how George W. Bush's presidency screwed up the country and the rest of the world for many years to come. Health, employment, the GDP, public services, the Middle East, and almost every other measurable condition of civilization's health and welfare were severely damaged by Bush's policies, all of which were enacted to make rich people richer. In achieving that goal, Bush's presidency was a resounding success.

Even if you don’t blame the [debt] crisis on Bush, at least half the debt is directly attributable to his policy choices. Racking up debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and some have even argued that surpluses can be economically dangerous, but for whatever it’s worth, Bush played a big role there. It’s also worth noting that Bush was increasing the deficit at a time when the economy was expanding — which is exactly the opposite of what Keynesians believe makes sense, and which also made it more difficult for the country to respond to the recession.

George W. Bush’s presidency, in 24 charts


    1. I hope that Jeb doesn’t end up being the “smart” Bush the way that Doug Ford is the “smart” Ford (for those of us in Toronto).

      1. Jeb *is* the smrt one, and he was supposed to be the one who got to be president if he hadn’t lost the wrong election. That’s why elder Bush cried when Jeb left the Governorship of FL:

    2. In the way a turd on the dinner table is interesting.
      How’d it get there?  Who’s to blame?

    3. They’re always trotting around Jeb when they come to the inevitable realisation that the latest GOP “contender” is just another Bum of the Month. Typical laziness from the political pundits. Most people outside the Beltway bubble — even some Teabaggers — now associate the Bush name with bad times.

        1. Yes, and since Jeb stepped on his dick as soon as he had the chance to talk (and write) about immigration, his stock has dropped. Rubio will drop as soon as the rest of the country discovers that he may be technically Latino, but he is actually right wing Cuban. He is as far from sympathetic to the average immigrant as it is possible to be.

        2. His son, George P. Bush, might just make Marco Rubio redundant.  He can claim the Latino vote and the swoon vote.

          That family really needs to work on naming their children, though.  It’s like that creepy guy down the block who keeps using the same name every time his old dog dies and he gets a new one.

  1. It tells me that there’s an old saying in Tennessee–I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee–that says, fool me once, shame on–shame on you. Fool me–you can’t get fooled again.

      1. What about “The Decider”?

        (until he said it, I thought “I’m the decider!” was something that could only come out of the mouth of a bawling preschooler)

  2. Even taking into account that economic cycles are largely beyond the control of Presidents, it was a real train wreck of an administration. That famous Onion headline of  21 January, 2001 — “Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over” — says it all.

    Heck, I don’t know if I’d entirely agree that he made rich people richer in the long run — not that Prince Bush ever gave serious consideration to the long run.

  3. Bush’s policies are shocking in their brazenness and the general “suck on it!” way they were implemented, but carefully note the steadily rising “inequality” chart that steadily rises for years and years. Both parties have steadily turned toward the poison of neoliberalism over the last few decades.

    Clinton helped set the table for future misery too: welfare “reform”, NAFTA, Rubin/Summers, Glass-Steagall/Gramm-Leach-Bliley etc. etc…

  4. I’m really concerned by the article and the stats not matching up here.  Much of these statistics are taken from other charts and reports, and the other reports are more neutral due to their nature as peer reviewed statistical analysis.

    The things like the “inequality” chart, the global warming chart (shows that Bush if anything SLOWED global warming.. if we’re to call that trend HIS)  , and other things.  It’s an over simplification.  Bush wasn’t the problem.  The thought processes behind the people who elected him and who presented him with legislation were the problem.

    1.  The trashed economy slowed global warming. You’re quite right that voters (and SCOTUS) bear some responsibility, but Bush was indeed the problem.

  5. I wish we had a better name for the power bloc that pushed these changes forward, than calling it “the GWB presidency”.  Seeing how much Obama has kept in place, it’s hard to believe that it was ever voted out of power.

    1. Aren’t both the major political parties fundamentally neoliberal and corporatist in their policies? The Democrats may be slightly more progressive but there is too much fear of disrupting entrenched industries to actually change anything. Meanwhile the Republicans argue for “small government”, which really just means “less oversight”. The free market is seen as more important than actual human well-being, which… I dunno, really ought to be a prerequisite, oughtn’t it?

  6. Interesting that the Post published this analysis showing that things were absolutely as bad as I thought they were, given that it gave heavy support to Bush’s idiotic policies when he was in office.

  7. The damage done from the Bush regime will take decades to clean up.  That is, for the damage that’s not permanent.

  8. Yeah and what’s more astounding than the idiocy of President G. W. Bush?  

    The idiocy of re-electing him. 

  9. I think this article is far too generous to Bush.  “Almost all of the Great Recession has happened under Obama ‘s presidency”  Really? The recession that technically ended in June 2009, five months after Obama took office.  What about the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and the housing crash of 2006.  Now, if he wants to claim that almost all of the “consequences” of the recession happened under Obama, that would be more accurate -and what Obama has been saying all along despite delusional conservatives claiming otherwise.

  10. Reading all those charts made me feel nauseous. You guys are fucked and all the rest of us are fucked with you. Not that that´s anything new but it´s rarely displayed as vividly as here.

  11. Look, I hated the Bush administration more than most, and from day one, but while Bush is the face on the label, you have to admit that he’s pretty much a paper target, a dupe who was totally controlled by those around him. He wasn’t ever really President, that was Dick Cheney, and the effective Vice President was Donald Rumsfeld. I honestly think that Bush was only there to be hung out to dry if their plans went astray. And it didn’t even take a conspiracy, all it took was one power hungry family from Texas who thought that they were the actual ones in power. Just look at how W has been absolutely marginalized by the Republican party since he left office. Clinton starts multiple global initiatives, and W opens boat shows, mows his own lawn and paints himself in the bathtub. I’d almost have to feel sorry for the guy, if he wasn’t actually implicit in the crimes of those who controlled him.

    1. I agree completely, but, generally, I think the term “the Bush administration” or even “the Bush presidency” is merely that: a convenient term for a group for whom Bush was merely a figurehead. Perhaps it would make more sense to call it “the Cheney cabal” or “the Rumsfeld regime”, but in addition to Bush being the nominal, if not actual, head, I think naming it after him recognizes that he bears some responsibility. Holding the office of President might have given him the power to do things differently, but, even if he wanted to, he chose not to use that power.

  12. Success is a perspective thing. People make fun of Bush claiming success after failing at goals they feel are important. If you look at what his goals may have been, concentrating more wealth  and power to the select few, then one might argue he may have been the most successful president ever…

  13. Blaming Bush for rising sea levels put a smile on my face. Was it also his fault that US government ignored the way Saddam pissed on resolution 687 and how it ignored the rise of jihadis in Afghanistan, more occupied with pressing matters such as Clintons sexy adventures? Ha! What a joke.

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